I decided to have a wee stop over in London between the warm (roasting) weather camp in Flip Flop Pines and our summer (four seasons in one day) camp in Switzerland.
As usual, I stayed in Hambro Heaven Hotel – the awesome house in Putney, South West London – owned by the wonderful Liz, who opens her door to all kinds of triathlete waifs and strays: namely yours truly, Blue Seventy’s Guy Crawford (very good to have a sponsor as a housemate. I have never had such good access to neoprene) and my super age group buddy Dion. I am so excited because Dion will be joining me for fun and frolics in the lava fields, having just got his slot for Kona.
Anyway, it was always going to be impossible to fit everything into one week. I was rushing round like a blue bottomed fly. Juggling balls and dropping them like mad. My trip home went a little something like this:
- Supersized meals (washed down with some drinks) with friends. These buddies reliably informed me that a few glasses of wine are just what the doctor would order. A bottle, however, might not have been quite as beneficial. Still, grapes must count towards my 5-A-Day.
- A delicious lunch with my wonderful mum, dad, brother and his girlfriend to celebrate my brother’s recent promotion and his birthday, which is tomorrow. Happy birthday for Tuesday Matty! No wine.
- Being wined (was that more wine?) and dined by the UK Oakley don, David Hyam. I was lucky enough to be given a new pair of the Oakley Thump MP3 glasses. Unfortunately I can’t even work a calculator, and so am struggling to operate this ingenious spectacle-music combo. I wear them just to look cool. And sing loudly to pretend that I have mastered this new fangled technology.
- Frolicking in rubber for a Blue Seventy photoshoot down at Heron Lake. Playboy are now banging on my door. I am working on developing those ‘assets’.
- Being treated to a wonderful lunch by the Daily Mail newspaper and Sarah Wooldridge, the wife of the legendary sports journalist Ian Wooldrige. Sarah presented me with the Daily Mail Sports Award in memory of her late husband. I am so incredibly proud and flattered to have been selected for this national Award. It means so much to me, and I hope I can continue to demonstrate the values that Ian espoused.
- Getting my engine fine tuned with a full MOT at Physio4Life, in Putney. This meant subjecting myself to massage-cum-torture from the ever sadistical Gemma, and some super treatment from Mark on my niggly hammy and hip. I was twisted, bent, poked and pricked (again, Playboy would have had a field day). Apparently I am very wonky, so I have exercises now to correct the wonk. Welly Wonka. All I need now is a Chocolate Factory.
- Popping in to see Geoff and the boys at Sigma, my local bike shop. It felt like Christmas. In exchange for a few water bottles and a couple of pairs of TYR goggles I managed to get my hands on a whole Santa Sack full of bike goodies. Including a much needed saddle/sofa. Undercarriage chaffing is now a thing of the past. Thank you so much for sorting me out boys – you are complete stars!
- This was topped off with a trip down to the Eton Super Sprint – a 400m swim, 20km bike and 5km run – held at Dorney Rowing Lake just outside London. This was the very first triathlon I ever did back in 2004. You never forget your first time. The oversized wetsuit, the toe clips, getting my shoe laces caught round the crank, accidentally running down the finish chute with 2.5km still left to run. I lost my triathlon virginity in style. It was great to go back, see the race from the other side of the fence, and watch my friend Jonny come home with gold. (Whilst there, I got chatting to one of the sponsors – Mens Health Magazine – who expressed an interest in doing an article on me. I have started to cultivate a facial bush and a chest wig – to pass myself off as a Healthy Man. Playboy would have less interest in this I feel).
It was so great to spend some time at home – but I did end up rushing round like a chicken with its head cut off. And although I do have stupidly large feet, bonkers hair and red nose which make me look like a clown, I don’t think I am cut out for the circus. Juggling balls – of the proverbial variety – is just not my forte. I need the simple life, and so I’ve headed to our haven in the Swiss hills for big gear action, slabs of milka, cow bells and a splash of cheesy fondue, in preparation for my next race – IM Germany on 6 July. Lets hope I can get the Welly Wonka sorted out before then.